Thidapa Suwannapura earns first LPGA victory at 2018 Marathon Classic

Thidapa Suwannapura's victory was her first ever on the LPGA Tour Sunday (WNWO).

The Marathon Classic has a new champion, and for her, it's a career first.

On the 73rd hole of the weekend, or the first of the playoff, 25-year-old Thidapa Suwannapura birdied, while Brittany Linicicome parred, giving her the Marathon Classic trophy.

Suwannapura is now an LPGA champion for the very first time.

"You're out here, enjoying the game, believing in yourself that you're a good player, everybody can. Everybody can do it."

While she sounds optimistic, this victory was in no way easy for her.

She shot a final round 65, after starting the day three shots behind the leader.

Suwannapura would shoot -3 over the final two holes to finish an hour before the final group.

Then, she waited.

Brittany Lincecome, who will play on the men's tour next week at the Barbasol Championship, had a chance to win the tournament on 18 and her putt spun all the way around the hole before coming out.

Suwannapura then came out of the clubhouse to defeat Lincecome in a one-hole playoff with another birdie on the 18th hole.

Her first victory comes just three years after a major back surgery.

"To be honest, I didn't think I'd be able to play golf again because it was a big surgery and it was dangerous. I was thinking of what I should do if I don't play golf."

With Sunday's victory, Suwannapura now has qualified for the British Open coming up in three weeks.

The pros weren't the only ones enjoying the Marathon Classic this week, though.

Two local St. Ursula graduates, Lizzy Win and Pinya Pipatjarasgit, played in this year's tournament after a sponsor exemption.

"It was great. It was wonderful to be in a position to be able to honor them and let them have the opportunity. They certainly didn't let us down. They played great and had a lot of friends and family following them, so it was special for everybody," said Tournament Director Judd Silverman.

Next year's tournament will be right back at Highland Meadows in July.

Toledo will also be preparing for the 2021 Solheim Cup coming to the Inverness Club.

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